The 5 biggest surprises in the first half of the NY Islanders season

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Oliver Wahlstrom has been a non-factor

It's starting to feel as if it just isn't going to happen for Oliver Wahlstrom on Long Island. Coming back from a season-ending knee injury, there was optimism heading into the season as Wahlstrom spoke about how the injury was a "blessing" that allowed him to take a step back, watch the game from afar, and improve his mindset moving forward.

Oliver Wahlstrom
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

However, the Islanders forward group is deep this season, and the internal competition for playing time has been there since the start of training camp. Simon Holmstrom solidified his role in the lineup, Hudson Fasching played well in the absence of Matt Martin, and Julien Gauthier has been showing off his combination of size and speed. All have had their moments, and outside of a few select games, each is ahead of Wahsltrom on the depth chart right now.

In 20 games, Wahlstrom has just two goals and three assists, averaging 11:18 TOI when he plays. A couple of years ago, he appeared to have a chance to be a top-line sniper. Now he's just trying to earn consistent opportunities to show he can be a middle-six contributor at the NHL level.